Platform for ideas

Wieden + Kennedy’s new creative school will offer a unique opportunity for graduates

for the past three years, ad agency Wieden + Kennedy London has run a talent scheme called W+Kside where it invites people from outside the industry to work as part of the w+k team. W+Ksiders have come from a range of backgrounds (prod­uct design, photography and fashion, for example) and so offer new perspectives on live w+k briefs. In September this year, w+k hopes to build further on this initiative by opening the doors of Platform, its new, fully fledged creative school.

“Having people with different skills, fresh approaches and boundless energy invigorated everyone in the agency,” says w+k’s Sam Brookes. “Because of the success of W+Kside we felt we were ready to take
on a bigger and bolder new talent venture.”

For Platform, which will open in London in early September, w+k is look­ing to recruit talented individuals from the arts and sciences and people who are interested in new technologies. “We’ll experiment in teaching, hiring and working with a diverse mix of people, from around the world,” says Brookes. “We’ll be looking for skills and talents that we don’t currently have in our agency, but we will be just as happy with culturally curious minds who can think with their hands and make ideas happen.”

One of the main benefits of the Platform course will be that successful applicants will be paid to work in conjunction with w+k on live business briefs. “Platform will assist the w+k global network on research, creative and product development projects,” adds Brookes, “and will also aim to work on initiatives in local communities.”

Patrons are also being approached, with the aim that a wealth of experi­enced people from a range of backgrounds will give talks and hold workshops with the new Platform intake. So far Jeremy Ettinghausen, head of digital publishing at Penguin; Linda Drew, dean at University of the Arts London; Russell Davies, global strategist; Deep Kailey, fashion editor at Vogue India; and Joel Gethin Lewis, inter­action designer and artist, are set to be involved with the school.

So why should recent graduates in particular apply for a place at Platform? “They’ll get to experiment with ways of working and learn as they’re doing it, tackle tough business problems with tight budg­ets and timelines, and share their best ideas and let others build upon them,” explains Brookes. “We’re also hoping that the students will be able to give w+k staff some helpful tips on working to deadlines….”

Platform will be situated in a dedicated space in Wieden + Kennedy’s offices on Hanbury Street in east London. For details on applying to the first year of Platform, see the sidebar above. Those wishing to get involved with the school as a patron are also encouraged to approach Wieden + Kennedy London directly.

Platform: how can you apply?
Applicants will be asked to respond to a creative challenge set one month in advance of an open day, which will take place at Wieden + Kennedy London. Candidates will create a video profile and prepare a presen­tation. If chosen they must then come to w+k London to share their presentation and work with a team to respond to a brief set that day. Successful applicants will be paid to work at Platform for a minimum of six months (up to nine months). Two-thirds of their time will be spent on live business projects; the  remaining time will be on personal development.

Applicants should contact Lucy Collier on to register their interest

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